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Published: October 6th 2015
Part of the Holocaust Memorial
Second day in Berlin. The day of Lyn's education fair. She left before 9 for a school about 30kms out of Berlin. I got on a train and a bus as yesterday and aimed for the Brandenburg Gate to join a New Europe Free Walking Tour. Lyn had done this last year with cousin Gill and raved about it. It's free in the sense that one pays what one thinks the tour was worth at the end. I was lucky to get on as it was very popular and I hadn't booked. Booking online is the way to go I was told, but luckily I was first in line of those internet challenged hopefuls and joined the other 34 on one of the English-speaking tours hosted by a wee Scottish lass, Georgia, who was knowledgeable, funny and interesting all at the same time. The Brandenburg Gate area was crammed as it was the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Germany. Crowds on a sunny day. We had three hours of history and stories (not 3 hours of walking) culminating in Georgia telling the story of the fall of the Wall and ending in tears as the momentous occasion and the re-telling
Inside the Holocaust Memorial
got to her. Well worth looking out for in other countries in Europe as well.
Lyn and I met up at the hotel later after her Fair and following some 'feet up' time we returned to the Brandenburg Gate area. On the way we got caught up in a heavily policed demonstration where it appeared the 100's of cops were there to keep opposing factions apart. Roads blocked, trams and buses halted, people like us stopped and forbidden to cross roads. Quite tense waiting for the action. Away in the distance we could hear some chanting and eventually a motley crew of about 100 people came along the Unter den Linden carrying banners and flags. And that was that. Apparently they were the extreme right wing Neo Nazi lot. About 5 minutes later a noticeably younger, smaller crowd appeared also with paraphernalia and chants - the democratic liberal crew. And so.....move on folks, nothing to see here, move on please.
Spent the rest of the time soaking up the atmosphere, having dinner, enjoying the sights of this amazing city. Why amazing? The monolithic grandeur of the buildings, the cosmopolitan, polyglot community, the creativity, the history that is so
strong for us since 1914, the canals, the past Soviet presence and towering over it all in modern times , for us, The Wall, probably the dominant metaphor for Berlin of our generation (for me anyway). Berlin - Hamburg
Before catching a train to Bremen at midday to meet up with a student who had been at HVHS about 4 years ago, we went and had a look at the Wall just down the road from our hotel. This, the Eastside Gallery as it's called, is the longest existing length. It has been decorated (defaced) over the years by artists and scribblers/scrawlers for its entire length and is an out and out tourist attraction for thousands. Some of the art, prior to being covered by years of crap graffiti, would have been very good but as it is you can detect what might have been still, and I guess the whole point of it is to be slightly anarchic as an, 'in-your-face' to the regime whose history it represents.
Our train got up to 226kph as it rocketed along towards Bremen. We had a very pleasant two hours with Simon who, despite being slightly ragged-edged after
a 6.00am end to his Saturday night, did a good job of showing me around old Bremen town - Lyn had been here before with, yet again, cousin Gill.
Another train to Hamburg arriving at our hotel after 7.00pm.
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